Teams /  Italy  / Italy 
Italy have 4,686 Fans
Italy v Serbia called off after seven minutes due to crowd trouble
Paolo Bandini and agencies - 3 years ago

Italy's Euro 2012 qualifier against Serbia in Genoa was abandoned after seven minutes when the away support threw flares on to the pitch and into the home supporters' section.

Serbian supporters had fought with police outside the stadium, with a number of arrests made and at least 15 supporters injured. Some even attacked their own team's bus, leading the goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic to withdraw from the game after he was reportedly struck by a firework.

Inside the stadium the kick-off had to be delayed by nearly 40 minutes after a group of Serbia fans threw objects on to the pitch and attempted to break down barriers between them and the pitch. They also unfurled a banner reading "Kosovo is Serbia".

Despite this the kick-off eventually went ahead. Serbia's players had gone over to the away section to plead with the troublemakers as police attempted to move into the away section to subdue the troublemakers and a short silence was observed in memory of four Italian soldiers killed in Afghanistan on Saturday.

Within minutes, however, flares were thrown on to the pitch, more than one landing near the Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano, as well as into the home supporters' enclosure. At that point the Scottish referee, Craig Thomson, ruled that the game could not continue as he could not guarantee the safety of the players.

After a prolonged discussion the players left the pitch. Official confirmation that the game had been called off soon followed.

The Italy coach, Cesare Prandelli, was quick to confirm the game was off, saying he had "never seen anything like it" and Viviano agreed that the game could never have gone ahead in such conditions.

"It was impossible to play in that goal," said Viviano afterwards. "I would have had to stand with my back to the game so I could avoid the flares. I wouldn't have wanted to take one to the head. [The Serbia midfielder] Dejan [Stankovic] was crying with sadness."

The rioting was described as a national disgrace for Serbia and immediate government action was called for by the Serbian Football Association.

"The whole of Europe saw the disgrace and shame brought upon Serbia by fans who have kept us under siege in our hotel for two days," the president of the visitors' governing body, Tomislav Karadzic, said after the match had been abandoned.

"We had information these fans would come here with the intention to force the game to be abandoned and we notified the Italian authorities. It's up to the Serbian government now to launch a swift investigation and establish who recruited these young men to come here and riot because this is an act of aggression which goes beyond football."

The rampage in Genoa was foreshadowed by an apparently co-ordinated campaign against a single player, Stojkovic. The former Red Star goalkeeper has been targeted by that club's fans since he joined their city rivals Partizan on loan from Sporting Lisbon in August. According to reports, fans printed fake obituaries, made obscene phone calls to him and produced insulting banners. On Friday they jeered every time he touched the ball during Serbia's 3-1 home defeat by Estonia.

Yesterday, an hour before Serbia's match with Italy was due to kick off, reports said several fans stormed the team bus with burning flares. According to Serbian media, only a swift reaction by Stojkovic's team-mates prevented a serious assault.

"It's a great disappointment, there's great bitterness," Prandelli later said. The ground was full of children with so much enthusiasm."

The Italy coach also added that a visibly perplexed Stojkovic had been in the home dressing room before kick-off to explain his withdrawal and seek sanctuary. "According to the Serbians we have spoken to, the aim of the Serbian fans was to stop the match," he said.

Share your thoughts
Sign in to comment
Page 1 of 1
Italy needs strict security and do not let the aggressive riot get in the stadium
Actually this was a Serbian security issue and not an Italian one.
This happened at Serbia, Italia were the away team
Naar,this happened in Genoa,Italy,but like the previous poster said it should have been a Serbian security issue.

Latest News, Blogs & Podcasts

The Guardian - 2 days ago
Prandelli denied reports he has already signed a two-year extension to his contract, which originally ran until the end of the World Cup. "We haven't spoken about details, just that we will meet," he said. "This is an extraordinary message to Italian ...
Despite Sassuolo sitting in the relegation zone for much of the season, two of their squad have made an impression in the top ranks of italian football. Both Zaza and Berardi have this week attended a pre-World Cup squad training session with 40 other ...
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has revealed that he reached out to Parma coach Roberto Donadoni before deciding on calling up Antonio Cassano. Cassano has returned to the Italian national team on Monday to attend to the mini-camp after being excluded for ...
Football Italia - 8 hours ago
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly. Print · Send to a friend · Soccer Italia Magazine Subscribe Now · Get Adobe Flash player. FOOTBALL ITALIA ...
The 23-year-old striker has been in sensational form in recent weeks and has begun to attract the attention of clubs across the continent, including Monaco as they start looking towards Champions League football next season. According to fourfourtwo ...
Football Italia - 11 hours ago
“For the last ten years Pirlo is the one who has made Italy play. “Prandelli has done a great job and the team has grown under him. But we are ready for a match that will be difficult.” Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips ...
The song is called 'Un Amore Così Grande 2014' which translates to 'A love so great in 2014′ and is performed by pop-rock band Negramaro and the frontman Giuliano Sangiorgi said that being asked to perform the song is an honour and will be a highlight ...
Football Italia - Yesterday
Sam Dalla Bona has admitted that at 33 he regrets having left English football and that his career 'at a certain level' is over. The former Atalanta youth spent four years on the books at Chelsea before turning down a contract extension and opting to ...
Forza Italian Football - 10 hours ago
According to reports in Italy Napoli coach Rafael Benitez will continue to reshape his defensive back-line by attempting to bring in Benfica centre-back Ezequiel Garay during the summer transfer window. The Argentinean has been key component for the ...
In Serie A it is another story altogether as once again there are seven aged thirty or over, however the fact that four of the top six goalscorers demonstrates the place that older strikers have in Italy. Adding in both Totti and Klose, who despite ...

Latest Photo Galleries

World Cup 2010: Pictures of the decisive games in Groups E and F
3 years ago
The best images from the final matches in Groups E and F as Italy crashed out and Japan pipped Denmark
World Cup 2010: Italy v New Zealand
3 years ago
All the best pictures of Italy v New Zealand at the Mbombela Stadium
World Cup 2010: The best images from Italy v Paraguay and Japan v Cameroon
3 years ago
Pictures from of Italy's Group F opener against Paraguay and Japan's win over Cameroon in Group E
Kick4Life - changing lives through football